How to Capture Outstanding Motion Photos with Panning

One very cool technique to capture movement in your photographs is known as panning.

It basically results in an in-focus subject with a streaked background in your photos. Luckily, it isn't as difficult as you might think to capture panning photos like these taken by Baptiste Pons and Sighthound from Flickr:

Shutter Priority Mode

An easy way to do it on most DSLRs is to set your camera to shutter priority mode. Set a slow shutter speed like 1/15th of a second. As the subject of your photo moves start following them in your view finder. As the subject crosses immediately in front of you, take the photo while continuing to follow them with your camera.

And that's the easy way to take a panning photo using shutter priority. It gives you the added advantage of not having to set or mess with aperture which saves time when you're shooting action shots.

A few tips to remember:

  • If your camera's auto-focus is a bit slow, you might need to manually focus on a predetermined position.
  • If possible, shoot subjects that move in a straight trajectory for best results.
  • You need to take into account shutter lag, especially on older cameras

Check out these other panning photography tutorials:


About the author

Rob Wood (Admin)

Rob was given his first camera (the awesome and powerful Kodak Instamatic of the late 70s) at the age of 5. He still hasn’t quite mastered it. When he isn’t tinkering on the internet updating Light Stalking, he can often be found on his unending quest for the perfect landscape shot. Rob started Light Stalking simply because he loves writing and photography. It grew to be one of the most referenced photography sites in the world. Rob is also the co-founder of and you can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and mail as well.


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